Why This 26-year Old Will Have A Major Say In Newcastle United’s Success In The Premier League

A Rock At The Back? – Why Florian Lejeune Will Have A Pivotal Role To Play For Newcastle United

When Florian Lejeune joined Newcastle earlier this month, he was very much an unknown quantity for the fans of the club. However, it looks like the 26-year old has managed to endear himself to the Toon Army already with his performances in the pre-season games so far.  

Following Newcastle’s 4-0 win in a pre-season friendly against Bradford City, some fans were quick to compare the summer acquisition to a former Newcastle player Jonathan Woodgate. The centre-back did not play a lot for the Magpies, as he was hampered by injuries, but in his handful of appearances had proven himself as a worthy player and had gained a lot of affection from the fans.

It looks as if Lejeune too will soon become a fan favourite at the Tyneside club. The Frenchman arrived at the St. James’ Park from La Liga outfit Eibar in a £8.7million deal and judging by his displays in pre-season so far, it looks certain that he will start the season as Benitez’s first-choice centre-back, alongside Ciaran Clark or Jamaal Lascelles.  

Strong in the air, physically strong and imposing enough to tough it out in the English game, there are no questions over his defensive nous at the back. But, it is his abilities with the ball at his feet that have made him an instant hit at the club. While not a lot should be derived out of a good performance against a team like Bradford City, as Lejeune will have much bigger tests coming his way once the season proper gets underway. But it does mark an extremely promising start.  

Having played against some of the world’s best in Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo last season during his time with Eibar, the Frenchman held his own against them and put on impressive performances which put him on the map. His composure on the ball, ability to dribble the ball out from the back and pick accurate passes for his teammates in advanced positions is something that will have caught the manager’s attention greatly.

At 26, he is at the right age and has a good amount of experience behind him as well. He has shown great character so far in his career – especially for Eibar over the last year. The club finished 10th in the La Liga last season, punching way above their weight. For that to happen, every player in the team needed to be mentally tough and be prepared to put everything on the line – something which Lejeune did for them game after game.

Having just returned to the Premier League, the Magpies will not find it easy by any means in the top-flight. The fact that they have had to battle relegation in three of their last four seasons in the Premier League will not be lost on the manager’s mind. Newcastle need players with that mental toughness and the determination, which is why Lejeune will have a huge role to play for the Magpies in the coming season.

Written by Raghavendra Goudar

Mechanical Engineer, avid reader and a football fanatic.

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